Wednesday 17 March 2021

WHEN IT HAPPENS TO YOU by Molly Ringwald


When It Happens to You: A Novel in StoriesWhen It Happens to You: A Novel in Stories by Molly Ringwald
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I found this book during one of our many pre-pandemic thrift store adventures, and I had to pick it up because I loved Molly Ringwald movies in the 80s. Plus, I didn't know she'd written fiction books.

So, this is a collection of connected tales that fit together to tell one story...

In THE HARVEST MOON, Greta and Phillip are trying to have another baby. Or at least, Greta is because she's the one doing all the hard work while he's obviously looking elsewhere. And why does she even want another kid when the one she has is such a cruel little brat?

Very well written. The story seems so simple but with all the right clues thrown in and no one actually stating the obvious, we know exactly what's happening to their marriage. And it's bloody awful.

In REDBUD, Greta takes her mother to a gardening place and instead of finding a tree, she realises that her mother's desperate need to save a grandchild stems from her perceived failure to save her own child. So why should she interfere?

Another well written story that once again dances around the heart of the problem while making it very obvious that this mother and daughter have some very deep issues. Also, everything we suspected in the first story is confirmed here.

In MY OLIVIA, we meet Marina. A woman who never planned on having children and ends up being the mother of a very special child. But how can she keep her child safe from such a cruel world?

This was a heartbreaking story because Marina finds herself allowing her child to be who they feel they truly are, but finds out the hard way how the world doesn't care about finding our personal happiness. Loved this one, and the connection was nice, too.

In URSA MINOR, Pete is an actor who decides to visit his sister after finding himself in some compromising situations. Did he expect his life to be impacted so much?

I enjoyed this story because it featured a character that should've been easy to dislike and instead I found myself feeling sympathy for him. And the overall connection was unexpected but nice.

WHEN IT HAPPENS TO YOU is a sad and melancholy interlude. Raw in its depiction and honest in its admission. Great piece!

In THE LITTLE ONE we meet Betty. A widow who lost the love of her life seven years ago but can't let go. Is her newfound friendship with the peculiar little girl next door enough to keep her company?

Wow. This is such a beautiful story. I loved spending time with Betty and taking a sad trip down memory lane as she remembers Harry, the love of her life. I also liked how it connects to the original characters and introduces several new ones.

MEA CULPA is Phillip's story. A retelling of his love for Greta, his failings as a husband, and recalling the many mistakes he made along the way. But is this enough to save his marriage?

Although I don't have an ounce of sympathy for this man or his very selfish actions and thoughts, I still enjoyed his story a lot.

THE PLACES YOU DON'T WALK AWAY FROM is the story that brings it all together. And I loved how everything turns out. Sure, Greta and Phillip's tale is bittersweet, but it was so honest and true.

Well, this turned out to be such a great book! Seriously, all I wanted to do was get a taste of the writing style, but couldn't put it down.

I was really impressed with Ringwald's ability to weave some very interesting and complex stories about the failures, triumphs and pitfalls of familial and romantic relationships. About how a marriage can fall off the rails, how parental affection isn't an equation, how friendship can be found in the most unexpected places, and how the unpredictability and fragility of life strikes when you least expect it.

I also liked the format because, although each story is self-contained and each of the characters have their own heartfelt tale to tell, it's also part of a much bigger picture.

This is a fantastic and well-written book about the weakness and the strength of the human spirit.

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